PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s birthday message to Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano has belied speculations being peddled by critics of a supposed rift between the two.
It is seen by a political analyst as a continued strong friendship and partnership between the president and his running-mate in the 2016 presidential elections.
According to UP political science professor and political analyst Ranjit Rye, even if critics claim that there is a big rift between the two, it is clear that the foundation of their relations and friendship remains strong.
“The birthday greeting is not just a greeting, it’s reaching out for both sides. I think it’s really inevitable not to reach out because they are really good friends. Cayetano has been with President Duterte since the start,” said Rye.
In an almost two minute video of President Duterte, he recognized the contributions of the former speaker to the country and feels that given a chance, Rep. Cayetano will succeed and do better.
“Alan Peter Cayetano, today is a very special day and I would like to share the glorious moment of another milestone in your life. You have achieved so much and you need not really feel bad about everything that transpired during the last few days.You did your best and next time given a chance I feel that you will succeed and do better. This day I just want to say Mabuhay Ka, Happy Birthday,” greeted president Duterte.
“Other people may not see it but the President clearly knows and recognizes the important contribution of Speaker Cayetano, when you look back at the past two years, you will see that Cayetano has been in the forefront of it all, from the successful SEA games and the legislation of two important bills to address the pandemic, the Bayanihan 1 and 2” explainedi Rye.
As speaker, Rep. Cayetano was the principal author of Bayanihan 1 and Bayanihan 2, the twin safety nets and stimulus package of the Duterte Administration to address the COVID 19 pandemic in the country. Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1) gave President Duterte emergency powers to re-align P275 billion of the P438 billion pesos national budget approved for 2020. Bayanihan 1 funds were used to buy personal protective equipment (PPE) for fronRliners, testing kits, and direct financial assistance to poor Filipinos through the Social Amelioration Program and other forms of cash assistance. Bayanihan To Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) allocated P165.5 billion pesos for pandemic response and recovery.
As Department of Foreign Affairs secretary under President Duterte, Rep. Cayetano implemented the 10 years passport validity, the highly successful Passport on Wheels, and the P1 billion Assistance to Nationals (ATN) abroad which covers repatriation, Legal Assistance Fund (LAF), which fundamentally benefited OFWs from a previous budget of 400 million pesos. Then secretary Cayetano launched the online passport system which solved the passport appointments problem.
It was during the time of Rep. Cayetano as speaker that the position got the highest approval rating of 80% and trust rating of 76% for a speaker and a high 66 % performance rating for the House of Representatives, the highest in the history of the Lower House.